August, 2011 Monthly archive

What are you afraid of?
What are we afraid of?
What do we do to avoid fear?
What am I afraid of?
Themes like death, illness, loneliness, homelessness, not having money, not having ressources to fullfill our dreams. What dreams?

The surroundings where art is created strongly influence the work. In this video you can see some of the inspirations. Nina Levett in her studio, Nina Levett walking near the studio. Husband, breakfast, coffee, ornaments.Credits: The song in this video is “Strobe Love” by Bunny Lake.


Yesterday I was discussing my obsession with fitness, beauty and appearance. Following up from yesterday’s post I would like to talk a little bit more about Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol’s view on western consumer society is very interesting. Things are becoming fast and superficial. He told us so 50 years ago: “When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships”.

He filled his studio with talented personalities – drag queens, musicians, artists, drug addicts and other “stars”. These people, their gayness, nudity and their drugs created an atmosphere of scandal. He created profit from scandal.

Andy Warhol enacted the truth. His comments were short, simple, machine-like, bored and repetitive. He usually stayed in the background behind the camera, behind the scenes, in control. He depicted and used reality (that he partially created or staged – similar to reality TV like Big Brother) for his purposes.

As a child Andy was good at drawing. In the 1950s he designed shop-windows and made beautiful ink drawings. Later on he was discovered by gallerists like Leo Castelli and became very successful.

The formal aspect of his work is very pop: bold, repetitive, machine-like, plastic-like, superficial, colourful, glamourous. His silkscreen technique allowed Andy to achieve perfection for a desired quantity of ever-same artworks that favoured his message: the age of pop culture and of commerce had arrived – even in the art world. Low-cost everyday objects like soup cans or boxes of soap pads transformed into works of art.

Andy Warhol set up a structure that enabled him to make art which could be produced quickly and at feasible costs in desired quanitites giving maximum possible output. He mirrored where society is heading: “I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic”.

Andy Warhol’s way of enhancing the value of his artworks was innovative. The factory and the personalities related to the factory (e.g. Edie Sedgwick, Gerald Malanga, Ondine, several drag queens, Nico, Baby Jane Holzer, Bibbe Hansen,…) were intentionally used as “marketing tools” and functional to the concept of marketing “ANYTHING” by giving it the label of an “ARTWORK”.

The experimental and political nature of his work is puzzling. This makes Andy Warhol so interesting. He appealed to a very diverse range of people.

On the one hand he was a pop icon making powerful colourful portraits of stars such as Jackie Kennedy, Mao Tse Tung and Marilyn Monroe. On the other hand he alternated the monotony and boredom of life with political statements. Sometimes the boredom of the life he portrayed was reflected in his films: “Sleep”, “Eat”, Blow Job. Another blatant example of boredom and meaninglessness is this video about eating a hamburger.

He claimed: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

Today it is possible for everybody to be world-famous for 15 minutes even if it takes a lot of commitment to achieve these 15 minutes. It would be very interesting how bloggers who work hard to achieve those 15 minutes of fame (or traffic) feel about Andy Warhols statement.

Thinking about Andy Warhol:

a. The wig (today artists especially females do a lot more to themselves than wearing a wig: silicone breasts, liposuction, hair extensions, permanent makeup – yet at the time Andy Warhol showed the world that being a star means being a cyber-like person – so unreal, so plastic-like)
b. The androgynous look: somewhere between man and woman (like Michael Jackson)
c. The silver foil in the factory (silver represents a decadence, a carefree environment of sexual radicalism, transgression, parties, drugs and money)
d. His interest and ability to provoke scandal (scandal = freedom, freedom = honesty)
e. The way the people in the factory were portrayed and became stars (voyeurism: a deep need to share (real) stories)
f. Andy Warhol’s nearness to glamour (hypothesis: juxtaposing ANYTHING and a star makes ANYTHING become glamourous?)
g. He showed that our lives are about beauty, money, diet, blow jobs, eating and sleeping. Our best way to perceive reality is through a screen. He recognised this 50 years ago!
g. His profound assessment of life. Andy Warhol said:
“I am a deeply superficial person”
“I like boring things”
“It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it”
“I never think that people die. They just go to department stores.”
“I’d asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions. Finally one lady friend asked the right question, ‘Well, what do you love most?’ That’s how I started painting money”
“I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning”
“I’m the type who’d be happy not going anywhere as long as I was sure I knew exactly what was happening at the places I wasn’t going to. I’m the type who’d like to sit home and watch every party that I’m invited to on a monitor in my bedroom”
“Employees make the best dates. You don’t have to pick them up and they’re always tax-deductible”

Have a look at this website for more quotes from Andy Warhol.

For a deeper insight into Andy Warhol’s life I have added 29 pages in the upper part of this post. It is a research project I wrote about Andy Warhol in 1991 for my art class in school.

Please comment about what you think about Andy Warhol and what aspects I may have left out in this post. Also I would be interested how you feel about the 15 minutes of fame.

Hello friends,
This is a blog about ornaments and patterns and I am slowly warming up to the theme. I will try to explain some influences that make my work the way it is. Lots of the ideas for my artwork evolve about things that happen to me in my private life.
One life event that happened about 4 years ago was meeting my husband. When I first met him I started to relax because things were finally going the way I wanted them to. I finally had someone to love, to talk to and someone to share my ideas with.
At the same time I also became more aware of how people saw me. I got feedback from him about how I could enhance success and get better results for my work.
Many of his ideas and inputs regarded me and my body. He said that if I manage to look better, if I come across as a more outstanding “physique” this would be better for my work.
He also said that people judge themselves a lot more by the way they look than it seems. My reaction was not positive to this at first. But the more I listened to men speak about women the more I realized that it is true. Relationships between people are strongly influenced by their looks.
Since I have accepted this fact as a truth I have become increasingly attentive to the way the media propagate information about stars and celebrities and have looked very closely at the way stars and celebrities keep fit. I have examined the way they live and their diet plans.
Since many of the famous are almost look-alikes I have some doubt if their bodies and diet plans are real. But for sure there are some tendencies as to the way they appear in the media. I have especially been influenced by three stars that have been on my mind for a while. These are Andy Warhol, Madonna and Amy Winehouse.

After seeing many workout videos, dance videos and spending many hours watching Madonna concerts and buying books and DVDs from people like Madonna’s former fitness trainer Tracy Anderson and her former cook Mayumi Nishimura. I tried Tracy Anderson’s method of training small muscles in order to stay “small”. Finally I got my own personal trainer and started working out many hours per week.

My increasing fascination for my body and its appearance has become like an obsession.

So much energy went into this that it showed strongly in my work and also in the videos that I made. Have a look at the film page to see some of my videos. Especially the wedding video “What If…” is very worthwhile to watch.

You will probably ask youself: what does this have to do with ornaments and patterns?

Here you can see an image of a fork that I made about Madonna.

I have read that making lists is very important for blogging.

So I will put up a small list here for you:

a. Women should be happy, thin and beautiful. So reduce your cellulite NOW.
b. In order to be happy DO DON’TS.
c. Don’t think too much.
d. Don’t go on a diet without booking a personal trainer to keep you fit.
e. Never go anywhere without wearing makeup and a perfect hairdo.
f. Here is a makeup tutorial and another one.
g. When you are perfectly thin and feel good about yourself then it is the perfect moment to have a baby.
h. Feel bad about yourself if you are perfectly thin and you are not yet pregnant.
i. If you are pregnant feel bad about not being able to continue being as thin as you used to be.
j. Keep on commenting and come back to this website.